Court Frustrates LACC in Japanese Oil Grant Trial

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Former LPRC Managing Director Nelson Williams.jpg

The intention of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to have several former government officials, including former Minister of Commence Miatta Beyselow and former LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams to go to jail was yesterday rejected by Criminal Court ‘C,’ at the Temple of Justice.

The LACC legal team was pushing to convince Judge Blamo Dixon to set aside the defendants’ US$2million criminal appearance bond posted by the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company, claiming the company does not have sufficient asset to secure the bail and to send them to jail.

However, in his ruling yesterday, Judge Dixon explained that the primary process of a bail in criminal cases is to relieve the accused of imprisonment and to relieve the State of the burden of keeping the accused, pending trial.

It is “to ensure that the accused will submit to the court whether before or after conviction and to ensure that the accused submit to the jurisdiction of the court and be in attendance thereon whenever their attendance is required,” Judge Dixon added.

After explaining about the significance of the a bond, Judge Dixon said “the court hereby allows, confirms, affirms and endorses the defendants’ bond and the court will not imprison the defendants because their bond is sufficient to the law, by virtue of the certificate issued in favor of the insurance company by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).”

Therefore, Judge Dixon declared, “The LACC’s exception to the defendants’ criminal appearance bond is hereby denied and dismissed.”

The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) regulates financial institutions in the country and it earlier informed the court that the insurance company met the necessary requirements to post the bail.

The defendants are accused of misapplying over US$5million from the sale of the Japanese Oil Grant that was intended to help the country’s economic and social development.

The former officials include former Director, Division of Price Analysis and Marketing/focus person Japanese Oil Grant at the Ministry of Commerce and industry, Steve Flahnpaye, former Deputy Managing Director for Operations and implementing agent for the Japanese Oil Grant at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Aaron J. Wheagar.

Others include Aminata & Sons, Inc., represented by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Siaka Turay and all its authorized agents.

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